Tomb Raider 2013
Gameplay - 9
Presentation - 10
Story/Creativity - 9
Lifespan - 9
A rich, engrossing storyline
Tomb Raider 2013 is a great package, and absolutely worth picking up for the single player campaign, it’s an amazing journey with a decent length towards it – about 10-15 hrs. Plenty of collectables are scattered and hidden throughout the Island which you can do either during or after the main game that will add some extra time towards it. Lara has returned better than ever.
Ah Lara Croft, a name which we gamers recognize all too well. The renowned heroine has been through a long journey of ups and downs since her first appearance in the original Tomb Raider, back in 1996.
When Core Design developed the first Tomb Raider, it has a major hit – particularly on the PlayStation. Once they knew they annually made sequels until the fifth game Tomb Raider: Chronicles. Between that timeline came movie adaption’s, novels, comic books – Lara Croft was a big star not only in the gaming world, but the global world itself.
The downfall started to occur after the fifth title due to repetition in the series which affected to poor sales and reviews. Core design wanted to do something different in the next title, Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness. It was vastly different and the folklore had been lost in the series, and soon after due to poor sales and reviews Core Design was halted in making further Tomb Raider games.
Tomb Raider 2013 is a spectacular marvel packed with an engrossing story. huge production values and overall reinventing itself to claim the finest game in the series.
The development team of Crystal Dynamics took over and made some pretty decent entries in the franchise with Tomb Raider Legend, Underworld and Anniversary. However they wanted to start the series fresh with a Tomb raider reboot, which has been in development for 4 years – and now it’s finally been released.
The central plot is focused with Lara Croft, her reconstructed origin and how she came to be an influential leader and butt kicking girl we know her to be. We start off aboard the expedition ship The Endurance, with Lara and her traveling companions – where they’re set to explore a mysterious island, where supposedly a lost Japanese Kingdom reside called the Yamatai and home to the legendary Sun Queen Himako, who is said to have inexplicable powers.
As they approach Dragon’s Triangle, a violent storm appears and splits the ship in half. Lara gets separated and falls in the dark ocean, which she awakes on the beach of the Island lucky to be alive. Initially her friends are nearby but quickly get separated and Lara must find them, while battling and learning the mystifying Island.
Crystal Dynamics have mentioned how they wanted a deep, satisfying and intriguing storyline to set the base for Lara Croft’s rejuvenation – and they have done very well here. In the beginning Lara is quite frightened and weak by her surroundings, she gets roughed around quite a bit, but as the game ventures on she grows within herself from her ability to survive.
I’ve read around people complain about a small lapse in the story development, with Lara struggling to kill someone and a animal near the start of the game but later is able to mow down hundreds no problem – to me I see it as part of her growth to survive and save her friends, and it’s a video game, but depending on how you judge that it may or may not ruin some of the experience.
At the beginning you start with a small array of weapons, the bow being one of the first – which assists the game difficulty of Lara’s survival rate. But you are rewarded with a pistol, assault rifle, shotgun and an axe as you wander deeper into the Island.
Tomb Raider 2013 to me made me think of two games mixed together one; The Uncharted and Batman Arkham series. While the progress is linear, you have the freedom to venture the Island in an open exploration environment, and can proceed back to previous locations of the Island as if it was an open world game.
There will be places and hidden spots in locations you can’t get access towards until you’ve collected a weapon or skill further in the game, which then you can fast travel back to collect. There are plenty around and will have your hands full for a good while if you’re someone who collects everything. In each location are hidden collectables for those who are into it.
Tomb Raider 2013 features an RPG element where Lara can gain experience and level up to obtain skill points to assign on useful skill traits. You can also find salvage to upgrade your weapons for stronger and useful abilities. Lara can access her skill trees by visiting one of the camp sites she finds along the way.
It’s a third-person action game with cover mechanics, with options to stealth. It all works very well including the camera work and only fault yourself if you mess something up. Lara will experience all sorts of terrain from zip lining to different platforms, climbing up cliff faces, venturing though dark caves and perhaps explore a tomb or two.
Inside those tombs and during parts of the game, are small but clever puzzles to get your brain flowing. They aren’t too difficult but are challenging enough to feel satisfied once solved.
One aspect of the gameplay did bother me, the quick-time events QTE. Plenty of moments which be relying upon to be instantly ready to push a button during real time cut scenes to guarantee Lara survives another day. The reaction time needed to pull it off is swift, but luckily a checkpoint is set right before these so if you mess it up – you won’t lose a lot of progress.
I like to point out and mention how particularly violent Tomb Raider 2013 can be – I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who can’t handle some brutality, both in the Lara killing sense and Lara getting killed sense. I experienced some pretty grossing deaths at certain points in the game, one part while gliding on a parachute if you crash into a tree Lara gets her neck impaled by a tree branch it’s not a pretty site.
What a craftsmanship of beauty Tomb Raider 2013 turned out to become. It’s a gorgeous looking game with amazing production values. You will experience quite the ride in the single player campaign. Explosions galore and Uncharted like set pieces full of death-defying scenes that make you believe no real human could pull out such an ordeal.
The Island is full of life, and different environments in every location – ranging from a wet and sleekly forest filled with wildlife, a huge shanty town, a beautiful coastline, plenty of creepy caves and dark areas where Lara needs a torch to see barely ahead.
The wow factor belongs to the weather effects though. The lightning looked and sounds so real it actually scared me a little. The wind effects added in were excellent and the sun shines brightly on the island when its day and at night the rain gives you a sense of chill – it’s marvelous.
The soundtrack was done by Jason Graves, who worked on the Dead Space series and plenty of other video games. It’s an amazing soundtrack that adds to the intensity of the environments around you whether you’re in a dark gloomy cave, or an immense gun fight with enemies – it’s top notch. The voice acting all around is pretty good too.
The single player aspect of Tomb Raider 2013 should amaze you. It’s a got a great storyline following Lara and her companions, beautiful visuals with some really fun game play. It really looks like Crystal Dynamics put a lot of hard work in creating an amazing experience here.
Now for the multiplayer side of things – it seems to be tacked on as an extra, not a big surprise. It’s very big featuring only four different modes and two factions, Survivors and Scavengers. Free for All and Team Deathmatch which are standard and I don’t need to explain, the other two are ‘Rescue ‘and ‘Cry For Help’.
The Rescue mode has the Survivors team collecting med packs and brings them back to their camp, while the Scavengers are trying to kill them, while Cry for Help is basically Capture the Flag except with radio transmitters.
The multi player system is like Call of Duty with Leveling Up, Perks, customized weapons etc. You can unlock characters at certain levels with Lara Croft being the maximum level of 60. Overall the multi player side is pretty shallow but was fun for a short time, probably won’t be spending a lot of time here.